[thechat] Back to dark ages

Martin martin at easyweb.co.uk
Fri Apr 25 10:28:09 CDT 2003

On Fri, 25 Apr 2003, John Handelaar wrote:

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: thechat-bounces at lists.evolt.org
> > [mailto:thechat-bounces at lists.evolt.org]On Behalf Of Bob Haroche
> >
> > Isn't the French criminal justice system set up the same way --
> > Presumed guilty?
> Absolutely not.
> Its one curiosity (which it also bequeathed to Scotland)
> is the third verdict.  You can be guilty, not guilty,
> or 'case not proven'.

Originally, it was simple - case proven or not proven. Which makes sense,
as in Scots law, juries are there to establish the facts (Jo Bloggs did or
did not perform these actions), not to interpret the law (these actions=
that crime), which is the role of the legal professionals (ie the judge).

Thus a Scots jury should not have the power to decide guilt of a crime,
but simply whether it is proven that the actions took place.

However, at some point, we imported the alien concepts from English law of
'guilty' and 'not guilty', but retained the verdict of 'not proven', which
has all the same effect of not guilty (ie safety from double indemnity
until such time as Jack Straw gets round to removing it).

Unfortunately, our tabloid press chooses not to understand it and
interprets it as 'guilty but we can't prove it beyond reasonable doubt'.
Which is bollocks.


"Names, once they are in common use, quickly
 become mere sounds, their etymology being
 buried, like so many of the earth's marvels,
 beneath the dust of habit." - Salman Rushdie

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